For those after take-home mementos, there are several items that should be on your radar in terms of authenticity. Coffee and rum are classic homegrown products and coffee, particularly, transports well. Slightly harder to transport, but getting a great reputation, are Puerto Rico's hand-crafted surfboards. Handicrafts wise, mundillo (lace) and santos (carved religious figures) are popular. Remember that Puerto Rico is not a duty-free port.


Both Adjuntas and Jayuya produce premium coffees with fancy labels and packaging, but islanders say that Puerto Rican coffee is of such high quality that you cannot go wrong buying the local supermarket brands.


Puerto Rico is the leading producer of rum in the world (it's the home of Bacardi) and a dizzying variety of rum is available. It’s significantly cheaper here than in the US. Most bottles cost between $6 and $20, depending on size and quality. And there is no limit to how much you can take out of Puerto Rico when you leave, but bear in mind the limits imposed by the country you are next entering. Also consider the novel moonshine rum produced in Jayuya.


The west and northwest of Puerto Rico are home to the best custom board makers in the world, such as Isabela's MHL.


The intricately woven island-made lace is also a popular souvenir, as are woven hammocks like the ones Columbus admired when he first stopped at Borinquen. Moca, near San Sebastián, is a center of lace production.


Probably the most popular purchase, these carved religious figures can cost well over $100.


These are masks typical of those worn in the fiestas at Ponce and Loíza. Island-made macramé and ceramic items are also widely available in the shops catering to tourists. See a good display of them in Ponce's El Vejigante restaurant.

Musical Instruments

Musical instruments maracas, fish-shaped güiros and four-string guitars named cuatro are a few endemic instruments on the island. These can range from cheapie toys to exceptional hand-crafted pieces. The Puerto Rican Cuatro Project is a good source of information on traditional musical instruments.